New BSE rule addresses imports

AuburnCow3_blogA new rule regarding beef imports and mad cow disease are set to go into effect in March.

The revised rule, which was published in the Federal Register in December, will bring the U.S.’s standards for importing certain products more in agreement with the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE) standards. OIE establishes international guidelines related to animal health. The updated rule includes a new system for classifying the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease) risk for a particular region by listing them as negligible, controlled or undetermined. The rule also updated requirements for beef imports and eliminated import restrictions on cervids, such as deer, and camelids, as well as on products derived from those animals.

Commodities such as certain beef cuts, as well as blood, collagen and offal from cattle will now be all allowed so long as they are accompanied by the required permits (a full list is available here). However, bovine meat and bone meal (MBM) will still be prohibited under the new rule.

The new rule takes effect March 4.

BSE is a progressive, neurological disease that causes aggression, loss of coordination, decreased milk production and, eventually, death. It is thought to be caused by prions, pathogenic agents that cause abnormal protein folding, which leads to brain damage. Strict regulations for monitoring and preventing BSE are in place around the world.

For more on BSE, click here.

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